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View Full Version : What type of home care needed after surgery?



student_RN
05-18-2009, 02:33 PM
I'm having surgery on June 1st and will most likely be fused from T4 to L3. I'm 23 years old.

I'm wondering what type of at-home-care others had after surgery?

How many hours a day was someone with you in the first days and weeks home after surgery?

How long was it before you could sit in the shower, and wash your hair on your own?

Do you think I'll be able to shave my legs? ;)

Sorry one more, how soon could you drive to get groceries?

Thanks!

K

Geish
05-18-2009, 10:09 PM
I can only speak to my experience.
I was fused from T4 to the Sacrum. I needed help with toileting for approx. 3 week when the home health nurse brought me a "tool" and freedom!

I needed round the clock help for the first 5 weeks post op because I was not allowed out of bed with out my brace and it took almost that long to figure out how to put it on by myself while still laying in bed.

My 19 and 15 year old daughters slept in the living room with me ( I had a hospital bed for convenience, we weren't sure how well I would be able to do stairs.) until about 4 1/2 weeks post op. They also kept a record of my meds until about 3 weeks post op and I was off the narcotics and clear headed enough to do it myself.

I was able to climb stairs relatively easily when I got home from the hospital on day 6. I was able to shower by myself at about 13 days post op and I didn't use a shower chair after my first shower at about 10 days post op.
I was off the narcotics by day 13 and was cleared by my Dr to drive at day 14, however I didn't really drive until almost 5 weeks and then not very far and not unaccompanied. There was another driver in the house and I didn't feel like I needed to drive.

I was not able to shave my legs by myself until...are you ready for this? Drumroll please...3 weeks ago! I was too scared I would slice myself open since I still can't quite reach the outside of my legs or my ankles. I used Veet up until then and was able to do that by myself at about 3 months post op.

I still can't trim or polish my toenails so I have a pedicure once a month without any feelings of guilt over the pampering.

Please remember my fusion goes to the sacrum and there is absolutely no give in my lumbar at all. You should be a bit better off by stopping at L3. You will still be able to bend a bit at your waist and have less limitations.

I hope this helps. Good luck on the 1st! Feel free to PM me if I left any questions unanswered or if you have other questions you would like to ask that I may be able to help with.
Geish

LynnMarie74
05-18-2009, 11:08 PM
I'm having surgery on June 1st and will most likely be fused from T4 to L3. I'm 23 years old.

I'm wondering what type of at-home-care others had after surgery?

How many hours a day was someone with you in the first days and weeks home after surgery?

How long was it before you could sit in the shower, and wash your hair on your own?

Do you think I'll be able to shave my legs? ;)

Sorry one more, how soon could you drive to get groceries?

Thanks!

K

Hi K- Im fused L4 to T5. I needed serious help at home for about the 1st 2-3 weeks. I could "take care of my toilet issues" myself about 2 weeks I think...and could shower w/o help around 3 weeks. I had my aunt over every day(mon-fri) to help me out til about 6 weeks tho. She was a big help w/my youngest son and also did alot for me! Having caring family helps! I could shave my legs being creative about 7 weeks, once my bending/twisting restrictions were "lifted". You just kinda of learn and figure stuff out as you go. I had all of these same questions and concerns & really, you just kind of figure everything out. Its almost like becoming a mother...its scary as hell for the 1st few weeks, but then you just get it! :) I started driving about 7 weeks as well.....maybe 6...I cant recall. Keep the questions comin'....thats why we're here!!

Lynn

titaniumed
05-18-2009, 11:57 PM
After surgery, that first shower will be heaven. Mine was at day 9, and didn't need any help with the toilet or shower.

I basically only needed someone to drive me to the Dr and go for groceries.I did my recovery alone as I didn't want anyone here with me. I like to lick my wounds alone. If you take Opiates, you should not drive a vehicle.You can get into a heap of trouble.

I started driving at 6 weeks post after I quit the meds. You will not want to ride in a car the first few weeks as the bumps seem to transfer right to the back. Also getting in and out of the car requires a little learning curve, I was hitting my head on the door jam every single time!!! That hurts. The motion eventually get perfected.

I don't shave my legs, but I paint my toenails with a high degree of "quality control" (a joke from an old post)

They should give you a grabber and anything deemed necessary at the hospital. The insurance will pick this up.

I would highly recommend a latex foam topper for your mattress with a thickness of 2-3 inches. It makes a world of difference with sleep, which is difficult in the beginning. The foam absorbs the pressure put on the bandage that will be over your scar. Its difficult to lay on your back with that pressure. This,you will have to buy.

Ed

Geish
05-19-2009, 12:09 AM
Also getting in and out of the car requires a little learning curve, I was hitting my head on the door jam every single time!!! That hurts. The motion eventually get perfected.


I would highly recommend a latex foam topper for your mattress with a thickness of 2-3 inches. It makes a world of difference with sleep, which is difficult in the beginning. The foam absorbs the pressure put on the bandage that will be over your scar. Its difficult to lay on your back with that pressure. This,you will have to buy.

I was so glad I drive a convertible! I think it took about 6 weeks to figure out how to get in and out of the car without taking the top down!

I have a 4 inch memory foam and it was too thick right after surgery. I could finally sleep on it at about 5 weeks post op.

JenniferG
05-19-2009, 12:20 AM
I'm fused T4 - pelvis and at 11 weeks, still can't shave my legs or cut my toenails. I could shower and shampoo on my own from day 2 though it was difficult. I'm used to putting wet legs from the knees down, into pj pants!

I didn't need help with toileting.

My problem putting socks on, was solved with two pairs of tongs. :rolleyes:

I had my partner here from mid-afternoon each day and was left plenty of food so pretty much didn't have to do anything for myself in those first weeks at home.

I am off all drugs but have not yet driven because I'm still having issues with dizziness.

All the very best for June 1st!

debbei
05-19-2009, 12:54 AM
I am fused T3 to L3 and with the use of the "Bottom Buddy" I was able to take care of my toilet needs by myself from the first day I got home. http://www.amazon.com/Bottom-Toilet-Tissue-Holder-Helper/dp/B0006TSMLE

I could shower by myself after about 2 weeks but I wanted my husband in the room with me just in case. At about 3 or 4 weeks I was able to handle my meds by myself. I had my parents with me for 8 weeks and was never left alone for about the first 4 weeks. I probably could have done without my parents at about 6 weeks, but then I have 3 kids that they were toting around, etc. I was given clearance to drive at 6 weeks, at which time I was on 5 or 6 pain pills per day. I started driving very short distances at that time, but I didn't feel really comfortable driving until I was totally off meds at almost 3 months. You're just not as clear-headed even when on just a few pain pills. THe pharmacist told me that if there were to be an accident, medical records could be supoenad which could lead to a mess. That's why I only drove very short distances as little as possible.

Good luck to you with your surgery. Your advantage is that you have youth on your side. :)

LindaRacine
05-19-2009, 01:06 AM
Hi K...

I was fused from T4-L3. I was in the hospital for 12 days. When I was released, I could do all shower/toilet care things by myself. I could make VERY simple meals for myself (although I had little appetite), as long as the things I needed were at a level I could reach while standing. I didn't drive for about 6 weeks.

I've known plenty of people who, like Ed, have recovered by themselves. I wouldn't hesitate doing so myself, as long as someone could get to me quickly if I needed help.

When friends and family ask what they can do, you might want to ask them to 1) bring prepared foods that can easily be heated/reheated, or 2) be your chauffeur as needed. If you're anything like me, you won't really enjoy much company in the first post-op weeks.

Best of luck with your surgery and recovery.

Regards,
Linda

P.S. By the way, grabbers are essential if you're going to spend any time by yourself. I suggest having two... the second one to pick up the first one when you drop it. You'll find a comprehensive list of other helpful items here:

http://www.scoliosislinks.com/PreparingforSurgery.htm

titaniumed
05-19-2009, 01:39 AM
Hi Debbe

"Bottom buddy". That's a nice cheerful name...... I guess some marketing guy was thinking that if you are going to stick something down there, it ought to be your buddy....LOL

I had my "buddy" at the hospital and when it came time to leave, I guess it wasn't all that great of a buddy and when I got home, it wasn't there.

You know how complicated it is to call and ask for your buddy while on Oxycodone?

Its complicated. Besides, its hard to have total trust with your buddy......

Maybe I should have used Brads comedy thread, but I thought it would be better here.
Ed

PS I always carried my cell phone with me everywhere in my house, just in case.

CHRIS WBS
05-19-2009, 10:52 AM
Age makes all the difference in the world. The younger you are, the easier the recovery. If you read posts form those in their 20s, you will see that they seem to get back in the swing of things fairly quickly. As an older adult, I found the two weeks I spent in rehab extremely beneficial. Because of a weakened left leg, I left the rehab facility in a walker and continued to use it for a few weeks and then switched to a cane. I could shower (I used a shower chair) and wash my hair without assistance once out of rehab and was able to shave my legs with some maneuvering while lying in bed. I donít think youíll have any problems here since your fusion will stop at L3. I never required toileting aids. I spent several weeks recovering by my brother and sister-in-law. Dr. Gupta called me himself to see how I was coming along and if I was experiencing any problems. By week 8, I felt comfortable enough to return to my own place. I was driving then and getting groceries and fixing meals for myself without any difficulty. I returned to work in four months. What I appreciate about Dr. Gupta is he is very firm about not over-prescribing meds. Consequently, I never experienced any of the withdrawal symptoms that I have read about here. He does require his patients to wear a brace. I had to wear one for three months and 24/7 for the first six weeks. It was cumbersome to sleep with it on at first, but I quickly adapted and liked the support it provided. I am confident you will do very well.